Buddhism is a religion that was started by Siddhartha Guatama in the 6th century B. There are an estimated 350 million people that are involved in Buddhism, making it the fourth largest religion in the world. The Buddhists believe that everyone is reborn into the body of other beings, including animals. This is the reason that they are careful that no one steps on any form of a living creature. There are two major branches, or "sects" of the Buddhist religion; they are Theravada and Mahayana. There are also Zen Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, Yogacara Buddhism, and Vajrayana Buddhism. There are also different types for different countries, for example, there is Vietnamese Buddhism, there is Chinese Buddhism, and there is Tibetan Buddhism.
It all started in the year563 B.C., with the birth of Siddhartha Guatama. He was believed to be placed inside his mother's womb as a white elephant, and then born ten months later with the thirty-two auspicious signs of the enlightened one. His father became aware of these signs, and was afraid that he would follow a religious life style, rather than a noble life style, as he had intended. For these reasons, Siddhartha's father decided to force Siddhartha to remain on their rich estate. After witnessing four events, and old man, a poor lady, a corpse being buried and a Jain ascetic begging for food and money, he decided to give up his belongings and search for enlightenment. After studying many different religions and trying many different life styles, and even fasting and marathon meditation, he discovered a new, less extreme way, and through meditation, he achieved enlightenment, or Buddahood. .
The Buddhist belief states that this world, also called Samsara, is really an illusion designed by an evil spirit called Mara, to keep souls away from the Dharma. The Dharma is a Buddhist word that means the course of right conduct to enlightenment.